Bright young things: Those behind the Bexley Young Musicians of the Year award talk about prestigious event

PUBLISHED: 10:00 04 March 2014 | UPDATED: 10:00 04 March 2014

Derek Hope photo credit: Derek Hope

Derek Hope photo credit: Derek Hope


Maurice Tripp, the master of ceremonies for the Bexley Young Musician of the Year award since its conception, is keen to applaud all those involved in the competition.

Back row (L-R) Jacinta Treloar, Ellis Lusted, Elise Dixon, Jessica Hamblin, Emelye Moulton.
Front row (L-R) Owen Kerry, Robert Grogan, Thomas Jordan, Chris Goodchild, Matt Yau.Back row (L-R) Jacinta Treloar, Ellis Lusted, Elise Dixon, Jessica Hamblin, Emelye Moulton. Front row (L-R) Owen Kerry, Robert Grogan, Thomas Jordan, Chris Goodchild, Matt Yau.

Mr Tripp refuses to single out any of performers he has seen on stage since the competition started in 1998.

“They are so amazing – they are all so talented,” he explains. “I enjoy the evening because they can display their talent.

“It takes quite something to step out in front of an audience.”

This Saturday, 10 youngsters will again grace the stage at Townley Grammar School, in Townley Road, Bexleyheath, where they will perform for the prestigious title of young musician of the year in the borough.

Despite the strict entry criteria, the youngsters are encouraged to show flair on stage with an allotted time of eight minutes in which to play any song they wish.

Entrants, though, must study in and be from the borough, have attained a level on an instrument or vocally nearing professional standard and be under 19 years of age.

And on top of this they must play in front of their parents and their opponents’ parents in unfamiliar surroundings. Tricky, would be putting it mildly. It is no surprise each young finalist receives the princely sum of £50, a souvenir and a certificate just for appearing on the night.

Derek Hope, 73, who has attended and photographed the event over the past ten years, said: “It’s always a great evening and each musician has a set length of time to perform.

“It gets very tense in the auditorium and all of the finalists have their families there.

“The standard is always extremely high and it is clear that the judges work hard to come to their final decisions.

“Winning the award is a great stepping stone to a future in music”.

Mr Hope indicates he is particularly captivated by the finalists who sing.

All those involved in the event, though, praise the efforts of Little Big Band, who play swing during the interlude with the judges off-stage deliberating who should receive the Winner’s Cup.

Mr Tripp exclaims: “They are absolutely brilliant, really brilliant. They are quite a big band of 20.”

The band’s name arose from the “small but keen nucleus of musicians who were keen to expand their knowledge and experience with the jazz genre” in the 1990s when the group was formed.

Tickets are priced at £10 or £5 students. To book tickets call Martin Evans 07914 740825)

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